Joe McClung, shares in his blog, what he has learned about becoming a new teacher. I decided to read and summarize his first two years for this assignment. In the very beginning of his post What I learned this year (2008-2009) he starts with a simple note "Stay Positive." Something I think is so important and so simple to do, but sometimes we forget to think that way. He also learned that lessons are never perfect! Be flexible. If you have a plan in your head and it comes out different don't try to steer it back to what you originally wanted. If things go wrong, work with it and try to better the situation.....and make sure you do it with a smile on your face! He talked about how he had developed a mindset that was all about him, the teacher. This doesn't mean you don't care about your students, just that you become so worried about how you are being assessed by superiors, that you lose touch with your students. It's easy to become so concerned with the delivery of the content that you miss the most important aspect of teaching, and that is checking for student comprehension. He talks about being reasonable in the goals you set for your class. Often, a new teacher will develop expectation levels that are to high. This leads to a teacher doubting the results of their lesson. Students are now set up for failure if the expectation levels are too high. Communicate with your peers and your students. Feedback from that communication will make your students better and yourself.
Mr. McClung, expressed the necessity to embrace technology in the classroom. Our society is rapidly changing, and computers are everywhere. New teachers should not become overwhelmed by technology, and give up on using it in the classroom. He also expressed the need to listen to your students. By listening to our students, we can build long lasting bonds that promote student growth. Teachers must adapt with the changing needs of their students. Teachers must continue to educate themselves to keep up with the needs of their students.
The summary from his second year of teaching really shows how he has grown as an educator. The beginning of his second year started with many obstacles. He was teaching history instead of science, 8th grade instead of 6th, and teaching in a new school district. The teaching style used in his science classes from last year were not going to be effective in his 8th grade history classes. Through hard work and research Mr. McClung, found ways to make history fun and educational. Mr. McClung, found out that many of his students lacked the ability to think or express their personal opinion when the discussion required no right answer. He realized that he didn't want his kids to be giving an exact answer that was expected. Instead he wanted to promote individuality and free thinking. Letting the students give an answer in their own opinion, not making things up, to express what they came away from a topic from their point of view.
He also allowed himself to be taken under the wing of a more experienced co worker. Setting pride aside and finding a comfort from what McClung referred to as "school mom" to help bounce issues that he was having off of to help him get back on track. He informs us how beneficial the "school mom" can be, and he informs us to through our ego out the door. School moms can be a huge asset to a new teacher who will become overwhelmed by the workload thrown at them. He tells us the importance of not being a control freak! That we can't do it all, and it's alright to delegate some of what has to be done. He also informs us to pay close attention to the scope and sequence of our lessons. It is easy to spend a lot of time on the content we enjoy, while neglecting some important content our students will benefit from.Most importantly teachers must never lose sight of what's important! Despite the variety of obstacles we can face, it is important to keep their interest in mind at all times. Mr. McClung, experienced a small conflict with his administration that interfered with his classroom.Then he reminds us that no matter how bad things may be, as a teacher you can not let surrounding factors effect how you conduct yourself in the classroom. The reason is because the students are what is really important. It's not about petty differences you may have with your boss or co-workers, it's about bringing your best effort for your students.